Packing Smart & Traveling Light | The Ultimate Packing Guide

When planning your dream vacation, packing mishaps can create overwhelming stress and eat into your travel budget. When I first started my global travels, my packing habits were less than adequate. As a result, I was unorganized with my belongings, which took time away from my vacation. After countless international trips and years of travel experience, I've compiled the Ultimate Packing Guide to ensure a stress-free, organized trip. It's best to be prepared before your trip so you can embark on an adventure of a lifetime!

No matter the length of the trip — be it a weekend beach getaway or a three-week Himalayan trek — you'll need to pack a bag, and you’ll want to pack it right. There’s much to consider when determining what to bring: the type and length of your trip, your itinerary, the weather, the size of your luggage, and any weight limits imposed by your mode of transportation. And with so many factors at play, it’s easy to overpack, especially if you’ve waited until the last minute.

You’ll learn how to best organize your carry-on luggage, how to pare down to avoid those excess baggage fees, and a few easy tricks to help you remember the little items you’re most likely to forget. With these hacks, you’ll be packing like a pro in no time. The only question that remains: where will you and your impeccable packing skills be heading to next?

Use Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a great way to save space and be organized during your worldly travels. Rolling your clothes helps to keep them from getting wrinkled, which seems to always happen once you start digging through your bag no matter how great you fold/roll your items. It's so wonderful to know exactly where everything is as soon as you unzip your suitcase. Plus, you can very easily move your packing cubes into the drawers of your hotel/Airbnb dresser and instantly be done unpacking, ready to explore the area!

I absolutely love using packing cubes and vacuum seal bags to save room in my luggage. These are a lifesaver! Roll your clothes into packing cubes and if you have thicker sweaters or coats, fold them in vacuum seal bags. This will help to shrink down your heavier winter wear to half the size!

When traveling for 2 weeks, I bring 7 outfits that can mix and match to avoid overpackingk. I wear my largest shoes/boots when going to the airport to save room in my bag, and also hold my thickest jacket in my hands. As a bonus, the jacket also doubles as a nice cushion for my back or neck when on longer flights.

Pack by Outfit

There's nothing more annoying than struggling to stuff everything back into your suitcase at the end of a trip only to realize you didn't even wear half the clothes you brought. That's why I started strictly packing by outfit — not by individual items — and only letting pieces I had a plan for make the cut. I'll take a skirt only if I know I'm bringing a top and shoes that I would wear with it, and I'll think about the activities on my itinerary and what I see myself wearing while doing them. Being realistic and planning ahead is key.

Lay Things Out First

Pack at least a week ahead of time so you have time to lay everything out before any item goes into your suitcase. Grouping things together on my bed helps me see quickly what items don’t pull their weight. A pair of pants that can only be worn with one top, or that requires shoes I wasn’t already planning to pack? Back in the drawer. Seeing everything clearly before I start also helps me fit things into my bag in a logical way.

Pack Comfortable Shoes

To pack light, I only bring items that I can wear in more ways than one. Since shoes take up so much precious space, make sure they're putting in the work to deserve a spot in that carry-on. Ditch the heels you might wear for one fancy night out and instead opt for dressy sandals that are comfortable enough to wear while sightseeing as well. Or pack a pair of all-purpose flats or boots that can easily go from day to night.

My top choices for the most comfortable walking shoes are Birdies and Allbirds!

Birdies are classic shoes that offer the style of a designer flat and the luxurious comfort of a slipper. Birdies are perfect for every day and feel like you’re walking on clouds. Your feet will thank you.

Birdies invented a new category of footwear merging luxurious style and ultimate comfort with their exclusive 7-layer cushion technology. Their shoes combine the support of a sneaker, the softness of a slipper and the style of a designer flat. Check out their website HERE.

Allbirds are made from natural material and sheep's wool for breathability and comfortability. They provide a memory foam sole and are easy to wash, so no socks needed. breaking in these new shoes! Another plus is they don't need time to break in! Styles are available for both women and men, and they provide a variety of colors to match any attire. Shop their selection HERE.

Have a Dedicated, Pre-Packed Toiletry Bag

One of the most frustrating parts of getting ready for a big trip is realizing that you can’t zip up your bag until after you’ve brushed your teeth and packed the products you need in your toiletry bag. I keep a travel-only toiletry bag that has every toiletry I need for my worldly travels and refill each container before my trips.

Put all toiletries in small containers to save space. You only need two weeks’ worth of products, so no need to take the whole 3oz bottle. for most toiletry items. My favorite holders are these mini jars and tube containers on Amazon. I use both to hold all my toiletries and it only takes up a small space in my bag. This toiletry bag is truly amazing because it has so many compartments that separate all your tiny containers, plus it has a hanger so you can hang it up in the bathroom when you get settled in your accommodations.

Have a Ready-To-Go Medical Kit

On your international adventures, take mini ziplock medicine bags for emergencies when you suffer from allergies, fever, upset stomach, blisters, scrapes, terrible bug bites, and other ailments. This will save you time from having to navigate to a foreign pharmacy — I've learned to always pack a small medical kit. I keep a toiletry bag ready to go stocked with Band-aids, Neosporin, pain relievers, cold medicine, medicine for stomach trouble, itch relief ointment, etc.

Jewelry Organizer

Purchase a jewelry organizer to prevent tangling or damage. When booking outdoor adventures or traveling to impoverished countries, wear a silicone ring instead of your flashy wedding ring. Hiking in canyons could scratch or damage your precious diamonds, or worse, they could get lost or stolen. Think about your trip beforehand and if it's smart to bring certain items.

You can purchase silicone rings in several colors to match your attire!

Women's Rings | Men's Rings

Bring a laundry bag

Using bags to separate shoes and dirty laundry will transform your return-journey packing experience. You can also use a plastic bag to stash a wet bathing suit in for the return home. That way, we get to enjoy every last second on the beach.

Use Dryer Sheets to Stay Fresh

Put Bounce dryer sheets between items of clothing, in your shoes, or in your dirty laundry bag to keep everything smelling fresh.

In-Flight Tips

Roll your travel pillow around the top of your backpack to save room and use clips to hang your water bottle and small items on my backpack.

Carry snacks and Vitamin C Immune packets to help stay healthy on flights. Staying hydrated will decrease jet lag. Also, pack these natural Jet Lag supplements to help your body adjust quicker to the time change.

On a long international flight, it's essential to get some shut-eye to feel well-rested for your arrival. These items can facilitate the best sleep and reduce jet lag.


Everyone aspires to pack light. Some travelers are successful, others can’t help but bring everything and the kitchen sink. Nothing is more frustrating than having larger than life travel dreams, but only being allowed two bags for your worldly travels. This creates a daunting task for global travelers. It can be difficult to lug around heavy bags during your carrying all that extra weight is exhausting!

Much like travel, the more you do, the better you become at it. Until one day you wake up and feel like a pro as you whip out your perfectly packed, minimalist suitcase, with the essentials you need.

Download my Ultimate Packing List PDF HERE to check off all the essentials.

*I highly recommend packing one week before your trip so you have time to add last minute items.





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